The Caves of Batu
I generally thought there was nothing other than the Petronas Towers in Malaysia that could quite catch my attention. It was sparkly and all, but when Ron told me there was this huge Hindu statue in the country, I just had to see it. It also helped that it was shiny and golden, and I am a girl and I like them shiny things…
As soon as we finished our hearty breakfast; Ron, Thana and I went on our way to go to the Batu Caves. We walked a long deal passing by the penitentiary building to Kota Raya central market. From there, we took Bus 11 in front of Bangkok Bank and paid RM2.50 to get to the sight.
We arrived Batu Caves and found the grounds full of pigeons. It was terribly hot but didn’t stop us from taking a photo-op.
We approached the cave in awe as the world’s largest statue of Lord Murugan welcomed us. Standing at 42.7 meters, it was a sight both terrible (as when you hypothetically look at a god and you feel fear and love and oneness with the universe) and awesome.
We had to climb 272 concrete steps to get to the main “hall” leading to other temple complexes inside. There were macaque monkeys everywhere, especially on the steps as they look at people clawing their way up the cave.
The gopuras were as intricate as the ones in Singapore. I was bothered that the temples looked alike everywhere we went and apparently, the artist who founded Sri Mahamariamman Temple in Kuala Lumpur was also the same person who installed the temple caves. The architecture is Dravidian, which is described as pyramid shaped temples which are dependent on intricate carved stone in order to create a step design consisting of numerous statues of deities, warriors, kings, and dancers.¹
The inside was huge with several small shrines dedicated to other gods like Hanuman, the monkey king who helped Rama rescue his wife Sita from Ravana.
Seeing so many places of worship and learning about different religion made me realize our deep need to connect to permanence which is this earth. It is the fear of something terrible like death that binds us to immortalize our souls. I love Indian literature. There was a time I can recite the Ramayana and Mahabharata by heart, but that was a long time ago. This love has to be revived…